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The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community

By: Nabeel Hamdi
224 pages, photos, illus
Publisher: Earthscan
The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community
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  • The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community ISBN: 9781844078035 Paperback Apr 2010 Usually dispatched within 5 days
  • The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community ISBN: 9781844078028 Hardback Apr 2010 Usually dispatched within 5 days
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Drawing on four decades of practical and teaching experience, the author offers fresh insight into the complexities faced by practitioners when working to improve the communities, lives and livelihoods of people the world over. The book shows how these complexities are a context for, rather than a barrier to, creative work. The book also critiques the single vision top down approach to design and planning.

Using examples of successful professional practice across Europe, the US, Africa, Latin America and post-tsunami Asia, the author demonstrates how good policy can derive from good practices when reasoned backwards, as well as how plans can emerge in practice without a preponderance of planning.


Prologue 1. The Evolution of Development and the Placemakers' Tools - A Short Introduction Part I: Place, Time and Clutter - Learning from Practice Reflection: Listening to Communicate - David Sanderson 2. The Bad, the Good, the Ugly 3. Profiling Vulnerability Part II: Placemaking and the Architecture of Opportunity Reflection: Getting answers to questions you don't ask - Anshu Sharma 4. Toolkits 5. Knowledge 6. Participation in Practice 7. Interventions: Site Plans and House plans, Buffaloes and Mushrooms Part III: Placemakers - Responsible Practice and the Question of Scale Reflection: The Invisible Stakeholder - Charles Parrack 8. PEAS: about sociable practice 9. Reasoning to Scale 10. Targeting Constraints 11. Learning and Communication 12. Reducing Dependency, Cultivating Ownership 13. Building Livelihoods Part IV: Teaching Reflection: The Mess of Practice - Rumana Kabir 14. The Intervention Studio 15. The Placemakers Code Notes and References

Customer Reviews


Nabeel Hamdi qualified as an architect at the Architectural Association in London in 1968. He worked for the Greater London Council between 1969 and 1978, where his award-winning housing projects established his reputation in participatory design and planning. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Oxford Brookes University.
By: Nabeel Hamdi
224 pages, photos, illus
Publisher: Earthscan
Media reviews
'The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community is filled with the coherent contradictions we never learned in design studio - "scaling down to scale up - work backward to move forward". Hamdi takes the reader on a transit walk through the reality of the bottom billion of the economic pyramid. It is this process of being present and attentive to the vision of the community that enables the best development workers to participate fully in the process of community based design in spite of our experience.' Steven Weir, VP Global Program Development, Habitat for Humanity International, USA 'Nabeel Hamdi is a humane visionary who never forgets that it is the people, not the experts, who must have the loudest voices in the building of communities. This important book distils the work of a lifetime spent making the world a better place.' Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, UK 'Hamdi again sets new benchmarks for his simplicity in approach, yet profundity in the underlying principles of participatory planning. Essential reading for anyone who thought they already knew everything about planning with communities.' Manu Gupta, Director SEEDS, Chairperson, Asian Disaster Reduction & Response Network 'Essential reading for effectively dealing with the challenges of urban poverty reduction by learning from a wealth of global experience.' Mohamed El Sioufi, Head of the Shelter Branch, UN-HABITAT 'A must read for anyone who has a vested interest in the process of placemaking through participatory planning - architects, designers, planners, developers, government officials, owners, and users. The book frames a context for becoming a "doer" in the process of mediating the interests and values, cultural norms, and governmental practices of all the conflicting communities of interest and practices. It provides through example the methods and tools for creating partnerships through participatory planning as agents of change.' Professor Emeritus W. Mike Martin, University of California Berkeley, USA 'Hamdi has masterly weaved in three strands of planning ideas and experiences, first, by documenting how the notion of place building has evolved since John Turner wrote his classic book , Housing as Freedom; then integrating the idea of organizational learning; and finally, cultivating a new paradigm of professionalism whose goals are to be providing, enabling, adapting and sustaining. Based on Hamdi's extensive fieldwork in India, sir Lanka, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa and Thailand, this book will motivate development planners, Architects, and community organizers to not only learn from but also enjoy the uncertainties of the development process.' Bish Sanyal, Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning and Director, SPURS/Humphrey Programs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
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